How much homework is too much?

User - posted on 02/04/2010 ( 97 moms have responded )

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Ok- I teach hs language arts. My 1st grade daughter came home with 19 pages of homework, due the next day. . . I don't even give that much hw to my hs kids! She was bawling! Now, she was home sick for one day, but the 19 pages are in addition to the original 17 pages of math plus 5 pages of spelling hw she gets each week. Am I alone in thinking this is absurd?

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Angie - posted on 02/23/2010

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No more than 20 minutes is what I have always heard is the standard for homework. I would complain to the prinicipal. I teach 1st grade and sometimes send all the work they missed but we NEVER do 19 pages in 1 day. I do so much that isn't paper work.

Karen - posted on 02/23/2010

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I teach grade 1 in Australia and my kids read their reading book, and write their list of 10 words once each night, mon-thurs- that's it. Nothing Fri-Sun. Kids need time to play and rest. They have already spent 6hrs during the day concentrating and working!!! If I can't teach them what they need to know in that time, then I'm not a very good teacher!!!

Pamela Yvett - posted on 02/22/2010

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That is too much homework. I too am a teacher. Homework should be as follows: 10 minutes per grade level ie, my son is in the 5th grade and should only do 50 minutes per night of homework. For the past 2 months, he has been working on homework for at least 2 hours per night.

Mary A - posted on 02/22/2010

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This is absolutely absurd! I also teach Language Arts (and Intensive Reading). Both my children are in gifted classes (1st and 5th grade) and my son (1st grade) typically brings one spelling/vocabulary exercise (15 words), one math page, one reading (comprehension) page and, sometime a science or social studies page per each night of school. I sometimes feel like THIS is a lot of work.

There is one thing, though. The other day my son came home with a 5 page reading packet and said that it was due the next day, I was floored and contacted his teacher via email the next day. She told me that the work had been assigned on Monday and it was due the following Monday (rather than Thursday, due Friday). Matthew just hadn't written it on his agenda and "lost" it at the bottom of his backpack.

My advice is to contact the teacher and insist that your child should not have anymore than 1 hour of homework assigned each night and, if necessary, speak to the principal if the teacher is not receptive. As a teacher, I would absolutely refuse to make my child do so much work. Even my 5th grader's math/science/social studies teacher says "If it takes longer than 45 minutes, have your parents sign it and put it away."

Good luck

Vicki - posted on 02/22/2010

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Krista, I am a retired 1st grade teacher as of last May. Research shows that students should not have more than 5 minutes per grade level of hw. I did assign reading above that. I think your child will be discouraged and shut down with that much hw. Please talk to the teacher. If that doesn't work do talk to the principal. Good luck and bless your daughter.

Kelly - posted on 02/21/2010

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This sounds really weird. Sometimes kids can get a little mixed up. I had one student who used to accidentally put some of his seatwork packets in his homework folder. So his mom came in a couple of times really confused and I always had to assure her, that, yeah, it should be about 20 minutes, not twenty hours, and that in a case like that, to practice reading and play a math game and send a note explaining the mix-up. Also, many times with littler kids, it is a week's worth of homework, not a day's.

But definitely, talk to the teacher. I know some colleagues who send home any incomplete work at the end of the day.

I am astounded at the fact that almost every teacher here thinks that this is being intentionally done. It sounds way more like a mistake to me and instead of turning your child's teacher into an enemy, it would make more sense to at least find out what is going on before calling in the big guns. As far as the big guns go, if for some reason it is for real, the only reason I could possibly see, besides just the teacher being new, is that the administration is putting so much emphasis on the pacing guide that the teachers are having to outsource to get the work done. In that case, they probably won't be too sympathetic:(

Nicole - posted on 02/21/2010

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My board's policy is 10min. a night, incrementally by grade (ie. 10min. gr.1, 20 min. gr. 2 etc...). I teacher SK\1 and I only send home completion homework, meaning they've had plenty of time to finish in class, but they've chosen to do other things. No wonder your poor daughter is upset!!!

[deleted account]

It is absolutely absurd. i teach fifth grade, and a general rule of thumb that our entire school uses seems to work. Children's homework each night (studying for tests included) should be about this: their grade times 10 minutes. So a fifth grader should have no more than 50 minutes of homework each night. A first grader, only ten. Kids definitely deserve a break after spending so many hours at school each day.

Madeline - posted on 02/21/2010

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I've been teaching for 21 years and yes it is too much and you MUST speak up. The NEA come up with the formula of 10 minutes a night per grade. So your child should not have more than 10 minutes of written homework. She should also be reading or should be read to for 20 minutes depending on her reading level. You should send the packet back with a note explaining that the work is excessive. Homework is supposed to be reinforcement not a lesson.

Delora - posted on 02/21/2010

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That is way too much work. I teach 2nd grade and our standard is 10 minutes of homework for each grade level. For example a first grader's HW should take 10 mins., a 2nd grader's should take about 20mins. That is a lot of homework and can't possibly for learning because the teacher wouldn't have time to review all of that. All I can say is wow!!!

Laura - posted on 02/20/2010

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I wouldn't assume that this teacher does not have children. It is an offensive assumption to those of us who do not yet. Common sense is common sense, with or without children.

Laura - posted on 02/20/2010

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I teach first grade and it sounds like the teacher wants you to do his or her job at home! I do not give more than 15 minutes of homework per night. Of course, they should try to read a little every night either alone or with you. Homework should also be a reinforcement of what a student has learned so except for reading directions it should be done solely by the student. I would ask other first grade teachers in the school if this is done across the board.

Patience A - posted on 02/20/2010

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That is totally absurd for a first grader to come home with all these pages of homework. I´m in further studies, and for my thesis reseach interview, one woman told me how much she misses her childhood and how much she wished her children had that opportunity to experience the things she experienced, and when I asked her what are those things, she told me ´play´imaginative, creative and fun play´from her point of view the schools and parents are killing that part for children by expecting them to be academics and missing out of the most important aspect of being a child! And I totally agree to what she said. As a first grader, is she expected to do all these hw by herslef the whole weekend without spending time on nothing else? Let´s encourage our children to be active, creative,imaginatice children and stop making lawyers or doctors out of them at this young age. Totally, it is absurd for a 1st grader to come home with 17 pages of hw.

Jeanette - posted on 02/20/2010

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No, you're not off track! That is way too much homework. The guideline for our school is 10 minutes per grade level, so 10 minutes for first, 20 minutes for second, 30 for third, etc.

Linda - posted on 02/19/2010

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I have taught Kindergarten for 30 years. That is INSANE! Does your child's teacher have any children? I have found (through experience with my own sons) that teachers with no kids of their own tend to be a bit unrealistic about how much kids can handle at home. Homework at that young age should be practice of a concept they are learning at school and mostly just growing responsibility for getting things back and forth between school and home. Your daughter's teacher will overwhelm her with too much pressure and she will dislike the experience. You are your child's advocate. Talk to her teacher and tell her that you don't understand the reasoning. I'm certain you are not alone. She needs to fix this problem.

Jan - posted on 02/19/2010

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Has she been having this much hw all year? I teach first grade and only expect them to read for 10 minutes, do spelling one night, and correct the grammar in two sentences each night. Every now and then I will send home a math worksheet to be completed. 19 pages is way too much.

Rebecca - posted on 02/19/2010

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Don't tell my students this- but I would ban all homework if I could. I am required to set it and hand it out and mark it- can't keep them in for it, not that I would-they are not required to do it. It is NOT compulsory. If anything I would get them to read, do their spelling words and learn their times tables or do a simple page of maths, all related to what they already know, so you shouldn't have to "teach" your child at home! Homework is meant to be revision. This is absolutely excessive and ridiculous. Talk to the teacher and review your schools homework policy.

Cory - posted on 02/17/2010

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That's absolutely crazy!!!! I don't believe in giving homework at all, except READING and a reading log! What's disturbing is that technically we are not supposed to mark anything that is sent home, we are not supposed to use that for reporting since we don't know if it was the students or the parents doing the work ... so what is the point of it. I'd find out what the teacher is teaching in class and tell her it is not your responsibility to teach your child a subject!

[deleted account]

As a 5th grade teacher, this is ridiculous! They say that a student should have 10 minutes of homework per year in school at the elementary level. So, in first grade she should only have homework that would take her 10 minutes. I give my fifth graders no more than 50 minutes a night, sometimes less. I would talk to her teacher and also find out if the school has a stated homework policy. Yikes! Where is her time to play and be a kid?

Stephanie - posted on 02/16/2010

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Being that your daughter is in first grade, you perhaps take her to school or can perhaps take her to school a bit earlier and can talk to the teacher direct one on one. Listen to her what she has to say, and quite honestly say what you think. She is perhaps a younger or less experienced teacher in how much hw a first grader can do. Perhaps she is used to her students doing a lot of work. Talk to her. Get to know your daughter´s agenda and/or program. Get to know what your daughter does during the course of the day.

Christine - posted on 02/15/2010

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In New Zealand there are schools which are banning homework altogether. Homework in my opinion is to help with work done in school not to replace school. I would want to see how much this teacher gets through in a day in the classroom. Perhaps that's where the problem lies.
Christine

Samantha - posted on 02/14/2010

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I agree with all the comments the moms have. I am wondering if the teacher is going over all this hw to make sure that her students understand. The purpose of any type of school work is to make sure that your students are understanding the information taught and not just busy work. With that being said, is the teacher taking the time to review the hw to make sure that everyone understands and when is the teacher finding time to grade all of this work. I teach 4th grade math/science and by the time I finish tutoring, calling parents, lesson plans, grading test, preparing for the next day, cleaning up my room and hanging up the hundreds of drawings I get from my kids I couldn't possibly grade 17 pages of hw from at least a class of no more than 15!

Anita - posted on 02/14/2010

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No this is absurd. My child is a 1st grader. She gets one math sheet M-Th. She logs reading 10 min each day + log us reading to her 10 min a day. Now sometimes (many times) a book will last longer than 10 min. Then she has spelling words to study. How she studies these words is up to us. This takes an hour. AN HOUR. She is in first grade. But is hits the major areas. Each activity is not unrealistic. but all together it is a lot. What you are talking about is disgraceful. In my opinion you should share you views with your child's teacher and if this doesn't work... the principal. Good luck.

Leesa - posted on 02/14/2010

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Like you, I teach HS ELA. I very rarely give HW at all. I think you need to have a talk teacher to teacher. Listen to what your daughter's teacher has to say. Offer some advice as a HS teacher. Hopefully you can come to a reasonable solution.

Jenny - posted on 02/13/2010

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Yes, talking to the teacher opens up the line of communication with the teacher. I have known several teachers to give a pack of homework on Monday for students to complete and return on Friday.

Jenny - posted on 02/13/2010

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No, you are not wrong. I would advise talking to the principal. I am a first grade teacher and we are allowed to give no more than 15 minutes of homework a night. This is usually reading. As a matter of fact, teachers at my school are not allowed to use worksheets or give more than 5 homework problems in math. Homework is just supposed to reinforce what a child learns in school.

Cindy - posted on 02/12/2010

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Way too much! I teach 2nd. I give one sheet of math and read for 20 minutes. Spelling is given on Monday and a test on Thursday or Friday, depending if the student makes a 100 on Thursday.

Sarah - posted on 02/12/2010

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Before going crazy... I'd go talk to that teacher right away. This has to be a mistake. Maybe it WAS due the next day but the packet was sent home a week ago or so. I send home a packet on Friday that is due the following Friday. It is about 10 pages long, but it works out to about 10 - 20 minutes of work a night. This sounds like a classic case of miscommunication. Just ask the teacher. =)

P.S. If this 19 page packet "due tomorrow" is for real, go to an administrator and ask about the school's homework policy.

Cherry - posted on 02/11/2010

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I taught 1st grade for 30 years and yes that much homework is absurd. If you expect a child to do his homework, then it has to be short and relavent to what you are studying! If you give them too much homework, then the parents will end up doing it for them - then everyone involved is upset including the teacher. I gave homework 2-3 times a week as reinforcement to what we had done in class but never more than a 15-30 minute assignment.

Catina - posted on 02/11/2010

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In AZ students have one extra day for every day absent to complete their homework. How much work was on each page? How long did it take her to finish her work? I've been told 10 min of homework a night per grade of child. I'd say if she has to spend more than 30 minutes on her work a night, it's too much for a first grader.

Stephany - posted on 02/11/2010

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Check with the school. Our elementary and middle schools have a set time limit on homework each night. It is in the handbook. When the teacher piles it on like that (usually the end of the trimester or quarter or what ever and they are trying to catch up), I write a very nice note saying that we worked on the homework for x amount of time and did this and this and this. I always say that we would be glad to finish it on a night when there wasn't as much to do. Generally, my kids' teachers respond positively - "OMG, I had no idea that work was taking so long or I didn't realize you had that much in one night." They are usually grateful I let them know.

[deleted account]

My daughter is in grade one and the homework is assigned by the students level. She usually has a minimum of half an hour to one hour. Homework is given 4 times a week maximum and no homework on weekends. 15 minutes of the homework must be reading so the other 15 to 45 minutes is divided into other activities. As a rule the school gives English and Mathematics daily. As a teacher... knowing that not every student is wide awake, present, paying attention, etc., at all times, giving review homework is needed. I also like it since it gives me a constant head up on what she is doing on a daily basis. My daughter is fortunate to have a teacher that does her job well. I do not have to reteach the lessons to my daughter in order for her to do her homework. Reading is the only part that I need to do with her and makes for wonderful together time.
Giving that much homework to your child is insane, period. Either the teacher didn't have time to teach what was prepared for that day or she couldn't get the students to understand the concepts on her own. If it is just work to keep them busy then it should be optional to turn it in. Does your child understand the homework given or do you have to reteach to help your child understand the homework? I know as a teacher not everyday goes as well as you hope and sometimes reteaching a concept is a must. However, 19 pages either means your child was absent a lot or the teacher is not doing her job. I would ask for an immediate conference with the teacher! Don't let anything build up, take care of any questions or misunderstandings immediately. All this work will probably deter your child from school work, make them resent the teacher and possibly you for making them do so much. Obviously that is not how to start off such important years of your child's education.

Catherine - posted on 02/11/2010

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Absolutely ridiculous!!! I taught first grade- a while ago now- about 10 years ago- but should have homework that takes no more than 20-30 minutes (depending on individual speed or breaks) plus reading a book for fun.

Heather - posted on 02/10/2010

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Studies show that homework in elementary school is largely ineffective. I'm sorry I can't cite the study off my head, but it seems like I found it a number of years ago from a simple google search.

Not to say that elementary students shouldn't have any homework (it's a good habit to start young), but overloading them like that doesn't make sense. If after you speak to the teacher she doesn't let up, I'd mention it to the school board.

Laci - posted on 02/10/2010

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wow! I cannot even imagine trying to do all that work in one night as a high school student and she is only in 1st grade. That is a quick way to turn kids off of school at an early age.

I teach ms math and usually give out a worksheet daily. It typically has 15-20 questions on it. I usually give them the last 5-10 minutes of class to get started.

Dawn - posted on 02/10/2010

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A good rule of thumb is 10 minutes per grade year.

I teach literacy in the primary grades (1-3). This year in my first grade class (90 minute block each day) I send home their spelling words on Monday with activities for each day (M-Th). None of the activities should take more than 10 minutes. Plus they are expected to read each night. In my second grade I send home the same kind of sheet with activities that will not take longer than 15 minutes and they are expected to read.

I give too many worksheets, but this sounds excessive! I have a (full-time classroom teacher) coworker who gives a lot busy work, but I don't think she even has 20 sheets for a whole week. Don't send in a note questioning it, go in and be calm. Explain that your daughter was overwhelmed with the amount of work she was sent home with. Find out if it was all homework, or some make-up work. Maybe she is behind in class, although the teacher should have let you know that by now. If the answer is "well, that's how much homework I send home, and I expect it to be done" then go to the principal. But talk to the teacher first.

Please post again, I would love to know the outcome.

Angela - posted on 02/10/2010

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That is absolutely ridiculous at any age! I teach 7th grade and rarely give homework. Not only do kids need "down" time, but so many kids have such unstable homes they go home to. How can I justify giving them homework when they're merely trying to survive in their home situation?? I would definitely contact this teacher and the principal. It would be interesting to see her justification!

Patty - posted on 02/10/2010

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I am currently a 1st grade teacher who is required to provide 45 minutes of hw. I personally give hw that may take 15 minutes (up to 3 sheets) and I do not give hw every night. Parents do expect it but I made it clear to them that it is just einforcement and reading every night is where I place more emphasis. I hope you had a chance to talk to the teacher to somehow rectify this since obviously this is causing trauma to your child and children should not be afraid or become sick from school which some teachers fail to notice. Good Luck.

[deleted account]

Our school has a policy of 10 min of HW per grade level, so a grade one should only be doing 10 minutes, and a grade four, forty minutes. Anything else shows that there might be a clash in learning style between teacher and student, or the student just isn't understanding the work. 19 pages sounds like an awful lot of work for someone in grade one. I would send a letter in my child's agenda to the teacher, and if I got no response I'd phone or set up a conference with the teacher. Don't know if I'd get administration in the meeting just yet. I'd just call this a "call for clarification".

User - posted on 02/09/2010

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A first grader should have no more than 10-30 min of homework. The whole point of HW is to reinforce what they have learned that day. I don't even give that much work to my AP chem students. Unfortunately many parents these days equate tons of homework to good schooling! We are going to turn our children off to the learning experience if we don't give them the down time they need.

Brooke - posted on 02/08/2010

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I am a first grade teacher and am required to send home 20 minutes of homework a night for my students M-Th nights. These are things like write your spelling words 3 times. Find the title of a book and write it down using correct formation of the letters. 19 pages is more worksheets than my students get in a week. I would talk to the teacher and if that doesn't work, I'd go to your principle. We had a teacher at my school last year who was just giving the students worksheet packets in the morning and then having them sit in their desks all day with paper work. The administration didn't know until 3 weeks later when a parent said, "What is going on?" Your high school students can do a pretty good job of advocating for themselves but your 6 year old can't. Good luck. That's no fun!

Cassy - posted on 02/06/2010

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I teach 5th grade in a public school. This is absolutely too much homework for any grade level. I cannot imagine giving out this amount to any child. I would call the office and ask for a conference with an administrator and the teacher. Then, in a non-defensive (although this would be extremely difficult for me), manner, ask the reasoning behind this amount homework. You might also want to come prepared with some information showing that smaller amounts of homework are are more beneficial. You know - the kind of studies that say if the child can do 10 problems they can do 50, and if they can't do 10, they won't be able to do 50. Hope this helps.

Veronica - posted on 02/05/2010

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Hi! I'm an ELD teacher for 4th/5th grade. I have 26 kids in my class, all at various levels. Even I know their limits. My daughter is in the 5th grade too, but she is in GATE. Now, her teacher is reknowned for extensive HW assignments, but, apparently, my daughter has been trying to join the "A List" group in her class, so the teacher has been piling it on for weeks. Sometimes she comes home on a THURSDAY with 5-8 pieces due on Friday!



I do not understand how cramming all of this practice is going to be good for retention of anything meaningful. I know also, as a teacher, how much work it is to check all of my students' homework for understanding, on top of their regular assignments and assessments...there is no way any teacher ( unless they are a super-genius or possessed of many aides), is going to be able to grade such massive amounts of HW with any real feedback for the students. Also, a first-grader cannot possibly be expected to digest so much new information in a short timeframe, with any realistic success!



Is your daughter a charter school student, GATE, or in some kind of "fast track" program? Regardless, this amount of HW is bound to kill her spirit, and her interest in academics. BTW, how does her teacher expect you to assist her with HW, especially on this scale? I would e-mail the teacher and have a frank discussion. I am very close to that point with my own child's teacher, but she says she can handle it for now. As she is the one initiating the "a list" request for more work, I will trust her judgement ...

Jeannine - posted on 02/05/2010

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What?! Are you sure? I don't advocate homework at all, besides reading at this age. i give optional homework for my kids who want to practice or parents requesting make up homework, but never due in one day. My son is also in first grade, which does do homework, they have one to two pages that take no more than 15min. and reading. I would talk to this teacher.

Brenda - posted on 02/05/2010

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Wow! I'd ask, "What are you teaching my daughter in class?" That is way too much homework for anybody, especially a 1st grader! Our children are losing their childhood, and studies have shown that this is not beneficial. Don't we all like our "down" time? Well, so do our kids, and they need it more than we do, just to process what they've learned, heard, etc, throughout their days.

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